MLB Umpire Dale Scott Comes Out Quietly In "Referee" Magazine, Which Was Exactly What He Wanted
As we usher in the last month of an eventful 2014, yet another considerably high-profile figure has bravely come out about his sexuality — Major League Baseball Umpire Dale Scott, revealed he was gay in a Referee magazine feature. But the article was neither an announcement nor did he explicitly mention it. Instead, Scott allowed the publication to include a picture of him and his partner, Michael Rausch, in the feature, with the caption:
He and his longtime companion, Michael Rausch, traveled to Australia for the 2014 season opener between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
Scott, who, as a veteran MLB umpire, has worked multiple World Series, All-Star games, and playoff games, has been married to Rausch for 28 years. Although he received a lot of positive feedback on the article in general, Scott told Outsports that no one commented on the picture — a bold, but quiet, almost-nonchalant manner of coming out to the public.
In his first-ever interview on the subject with Outsports, a sports publication for the LGBT community, Scott, who has been an umpire for 29 years, said:
Obviously, when I sent that picture to Jeff, I knew exactly what it meant. In a small way, this was opening that door in a publication that wasn't going to be circulated nationwide.... I realized that it could open a Pandora's Box, but this is not a surprise to Major League Baseball, the people I work for. It's not a surprise to the umpire staff.
Scott's coming out makes him the first male referee to publicly reveal his sexuality in major professional sports, but Violet Palmer, the first female referee to officiate an NBA playoff game, announced in 2007 that she was gay and married her longtime partner early this August.
As someone who clearly holds his privacy dear, Scott said that he wanted the Referee feature piece to focus on his career, not his personal life:
This is not going to be some huge flashing news to Park Avenue [MLB headquarters], but I also didn't want to be making some coming out story, some banner headline, because that's not how I operate. It's not a shock to MLB management because they're well aware of my situation and it's not a shock to the umpire staff. If it would have been, I don't think I would have done it.
A number of public figures in different fields have come out this year, from business — Apple's CEO Tim Cook — to Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics representing politics. It reflects a slow but hearteningly steady societal progress — and, in the workplace, a common sense that an employee's work should be measured based on his or her ability to deliver. As Scott told Outsports:
I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else, and that's the way it should be.
Images: Getty Images (2)